HARBERT — With businesses required to shut down, schools closed, and people filled with anxiety, Neighbor by Neighbor has been able to help in practical ways because of generous gifts. 

An anonymous couple gave $15,000. Sawyer Highlands Church donated $500. The Episcopal Church of the Mediator is asking its parishioners to donate what they would have spent on Easter flowers to Neighbor by Neighbor. Other individuals have mailed in checks or made donations online.

This money is being put to good use. Neighbor by Neighbor mailed $50 Hardings Grocery Store gift cards to about 100 residents of Three Oaks, New Buffalo and other nearby communities as having great need. The accompanying letters encouraged gift card recipients to refer others in need to Neighbor by Neighbor. A homeless man living for a short time with a friend needed his car repaired to go to work but only had part of the money. Neighbor by Neighbor was able to supply the remainder that was needed. A recovering addict completed rehab, got a job and needed help paying for car insurance. In partnership with Water’s Edge Church and New Buffalo Service League, Neighbor by Neighbor contributed funds toward the bill.  A young woman was abandoned by her boyfriend and their utility bills were in his name and overdue. Neighbor by Neighbor paid the minimum to avoid shut-off, and the woman wrote: “I can’t thank you enough for your help during this trying time. My heart is so full and weight is lifted off my shoulder. I appreciate you so much!” Two previously homeless people secured housing through the efforts of Neighbor by Neighbor and Harbert Community Church’s Helping Hand fund.

Food insecurity (lack of access to enough good, healthy, and culturally appropriate food) was a major issue for many residents of southwest Berrien County before the COVID 19 epidemic, and it has only gotten much worse with the closing of food pantries and schools. Fortunately, the schools deliver meals to families who depend on school breakfasts and lunches for their kids.

It’s a new world for many laid off workers who never dreamt they would need to file for unemployment. Neighbor by Neighbor can help people sign up for various government programs including unemployment, SNAP (Food Stamps), Medicaid, Social Security Retirement and Disability, and Veterans Administration. Call 269-231-0648 and if no one is available, please leave your name and phone number.

If you would like to donate to Neighbor by Neighbor, you can send a check to neighbor by Neighbor, c/o Harbert Community Church, P. O. Box 197, Harbert, MI 49115; please write “Neighbor by neighbor” on the check memo line. Or you can give online at harbertcommunitychurch.org, designating “Neighbor by Neighbor.”

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